In a bold and swift move, Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, the newly appointed Acting Speaker, wasted no time asserting his authority. McHenry, a trusted ally of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, wielded his newfound powers with a resounding demand: Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker, was to vacate her cherished Capitol hideaway office by the end of the day.
The story first broke by our own Matt Couch, has since went viral.
McHenry’s rise to Acting Speaker came after McCarthy’s ousting, a strategic maneuver that has handed him all the powers of a House Speaker. McCarthy’s earlier selection of McHenry as Speaker Pro Tempore set the stage for this assertive move.
Pelosi, no stranger to political battles, immediately lashed out at McHenry’s decision, decrying it as “a sharp departure from tradition.” However, McHenry stood firm, determined to break from the norm and reclaim valuable office space in the Capitol.
What makes this move particularly striking is the fact that Pelosi was nowhere near Washington, D.C., at the time. She was attending the funeral of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein in California when McHenry issued the eviction order. In response, Pelosi cited her absence and expressed her inability to retrieve her belongings promptly.
The move by McHenry signifies a new era in the House of Representatives, where decisive actions are taken swiftly and without hesitation. The email sent to Pelosi’s office from a top aide on the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee left no room for negotiation, stating, “Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed.” The room was earmarked for “speaker office use,” according to the email.
Hideaway offices in the Capitol are a coveted privilege for only a select few House lawmakers, in stark contrast to the Senate, where they are more commonplace. McHenry’s unapologetic assertion of authority highlights the changing dynamics within the House and sets the stage for potential confrontations in the days ahead.